Knayton C of E Primary Academy

Proud to be part of Elevate Multi Academy Trust

Stockton Road, Knayton, Thirsk, YO7 4AN

01845 537291

Executive Headteacher: Mrs A Clay

Early Years at Knayton


 “As a result of incisive leadership, precise assessment and high-quality teaching, children make outstanding progress.” OFSTED 2017


Our intent for EYFS at Knayton CofE Academy is to inspire, engage and enthuse our pupils to be active learners every day. Our children in EYFS learn in a stimulating environment with high quality provision areas inside and outdoors. This includes our construction area, sand and water area, mud kitchen, home corner and the creative station, transient art, and many more which are enhanced on a daily basis. Through exciting provision, the highest quality Early Years’ experience is delivered by establishing a firm foundation on which to build future academic, enterprising, social and emotional successes focusing particularly on wellbeing and attitudes to learning. High aspirations are instilled in our pupils from a very early age and pupils self-belief and ownership of learning allow them to take risk and develop resilience on a daily basis.


Children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning is ignited, along with the development of skills needed to learn, form relationships and thrive. Whilst recognising that every child is unique and joins Knayton with differing levels of learning and social skills, our aim on leaving Reception is that children:

  • Are confident learners, who are resilient and willing to take risks.
  • Are positive about their learning and are able to self-regulate.
  • Have high expectations of themselves and others.
  • Are inspired by our Christian vision to take care of the world around them.


Our approach is underpinned by the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning and is implemented through the children’s interests on a daily basis through our play based, responsive curriculum. Our highly effective practitioners work with the children in the environment to encourage the pupils to explore and investigate problems, to ensure the best outcomes for all pupils. Their excellent knowledge of the Early Years Curriculum allows them to support pupils progress during play, allowing each child to have ownership of their learning.  At Knayton we believe the adults role is to facilitate opportunities for pupils to learn through high quality interactions. By responding to pupils needs in this way, pupils see their play as meaningful and being valued by adults.  This empowers our early learners to develop by leading their own play, and at Knayton this won't be adult led with limited predetermined outcomes.

Examples of this include, developing mark making skills by encouraging children to write a recipe in the mud kitchen. Also, designing and labelling a picture of a pattern they have created on the light box. Our child led approach means that pupils are constantly engaged in their learning and learn under real life contexts. All adults in EYFS are trained to a high standard to ensure they are skilled to further a child’s learning through questioning. They have a good knowledge of each child’s next steps so can extend their learning whilst ‘at play’. 

Our excellent transition allows for adults to develop strong relationships and know children's learning needs from the moment they receive a place at Knayton. 

The impact of our Early Years approach is that children develop into independent thinkers who work collaboratively and love learning! 


Planning in the Moment

At Knayton all of our planning, with the exception of Phonics, Mathematics, We Love to Read and RE is based around our pupils interests and needs. Links are made between the seven areas of development through purposeful play. Introducing concepts and knowledge into the children’s play by enhancing our provision. At Knayton our planning is based around 'Planning in the Moment'. Practitioners are trained to identify the teachable moment for children to progress. Based on what the children are already deeply involved in, this way of planning relies on skilled practitioners using quality interactions to draw out the children’s knowledge and build on it there and then (in the moment). This means that the practitioner needs the skills to be able to see the teachable moment from the child’s perspective and be skilled enough to know when to intervene and when to stand back and observe. 'Planning in the Moment' is all about capturing the moment of engagement and running with it to make sure the children progress.

Keep Up Not Catch Up approaches are also used to either provide extra support to individuals and small groups of children. Activities are planned by adults prior to the session and are based on ongoing assessments and the children’s interests. 



In Early Years, we have a rigorous approach to phonics teaching. Phonics is taught in a whole class approach through our chosen programme 'Liltte Wandle' which informs our planning and practice. Any gaps in knowledge are addressed through individual and group interventions (additional to whole class phonics sessions) from the start of the year in order for children to ‘keep up’ with their peers. Therefore, the children then move through the phase groups as one group together. Children in danger of falling behind, or who are working behind the pace of the programme, are swiftly identified and enough additional support provided to enable them to keep up. We teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week. Children read books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments. This decodable reading practice book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family. Children also choose a reading for pleasure book which they take home too to support their use of vocabulary and comprehension and to ensure they have access to a diverse range of books.


We Love to Read

Children are exposed to a range of different texts in Early Years linked to our school context and vision and poetry. Through our Early Reading Comprehension offer children are taught a breadth and depth of vocabulary that is needed to understand books, the world around them and the conversations and discussions they will have. The story sessions are designed to dive deeply into texts, understanding characters, plots and themes. Children finish the week by taking part in a whole class Helicopter Session, where the children use the tales tool kit to develop their own stories, acting them out together. The stories are scribed and vocabulary use is measured through the year. Individual or small group helicopter stories are also recorded in our ‘We are Storytellers’ book and shared as a class. 



Maths in Early Years at Knayton is based around the Early Years Mastery approach to Mathematics. Each week our teaching will be based around a number. The pupils will investigate and explore the 'Twoness of 2.'  This is through a range of planned and structured play situations, both independent, and supported by teachers as play partners, where there is plenty of scope for exploration. Not a moment is wasted throughout the day, as Maths is emphasised in all aspects of the daily routine e.g. snack-time /lining up etc. Maths through real-life and meaningful experiences, using practical hands-on resources is key.


Parents as Partners

Tapestry is a secure online Learning Journal we use to record photos, observations and comments, in line with the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, to build up a record of your child’s experiences during their time with us. This system allows us to work with parents and carers to share information and record the children’s play and learning in and outside of the classroom on a daily basis. At Knayton we actively encourage our parents to upload home achievements onto Tapestry, these are celebrated in class throughout the week. 


Click here to see our Early Years at Knayton brochure!




Please click here to see our early Years curriculum.